Everything You Need to Know About Period Sex and Your Cycle

by Lovehoney

on Jun 13, 2019

Everything You Need to Know About Period Sex and Your Cycle

We all know sex makes you feel good. I mean, it's sex, right? But the literal health benefits of having sex don't get enough air time as far as we're concerned.

At OHNE, we're able to relate almost anything to periods, so you best believe we've learned how to use the near-magical powers of getting off to hack our menstrual cycles.

Your period and hormones might seem like an unpredictable mystery at times, but they're actually super easy to track - and, as a result, optimize.

Whether you want to stick it to your cramps, combat hormone-induced mood swings, or go up against your PMS-induced stress, here are some of our top tips for working with your menstrual cycle to get the most out of your sex life.

Week One: Time to use a vibrator or have period sex

Day one of your menstrual cycle is the first day of your period.

A period is, in simple terms, the shedding of the uterus lining.To shed the lining of the uterus, the uterus muscles aggressively contract to compress the blood vessels lining your womb. Not only are contracting muscles painful, but the contractions prevent oxygen from reaching the uterus, which triggers chemicals that cause pain.

You promised me period sex talk? Right. Whether you're having sex with a partner(s) or masturbating on your period, a vibrator can ease your cramps because the vibrations stimulate blood flow and oxygen to your genitals. Vibrations also awaken your nerve endings more than stimulation from fingers, a mouth, or someone else's genitals can. So, uh, hello, 8,000 clitoris nerve-endings!

Best vibrators to use during your period

Having sex on your period

While using vibrators in the bedroom definitely ranks at the top of our list of period sex priorities, if you don't own one yet, don't despair – having sex on your period can provide the same relief as a vibrator.

Can you have sex on your period?

In short, yes. It’s totally safe to have sex on your period, as long as you don’t mind some mess. There are actually some benefits of period sex. As we’ve seen, having sex on your period helps to relieve menstrual cramps and speed up how long you bleed for – but more on that later.

What happens when you have sex on your period?

When you have sex, your body releases endorphins and a rush of oxytocin. When you’re on your period, this rush and release will get your muscles to chill out, lessen the contractions, and give your blood vessels some much-needed O2. If you have period sex, you’ll probably be surprised by how little blood – which is actually comprised of a cocktail of cervical mucus, endometrial tissue, and vaginal secretions as well as blood – actually leaks onto the sheets or towel, unless you're going at it for hours (you absolute champ).

Having an orgasm during period sex can even potentially speed up your period – as in, literally shorten the amount of time you are bleeding for. When you climax, your vagina, anal sphincter and uterus contract, which is exactly what happens when you're menstruating. You can expel the uterine lining faster the more the muscles work to shed it – and who wouldn't volunteer for a shorter period?

Plus, with orgasms strengthening your pelvic floor, you'll be increasing your resistance to the pains induced by contracting uterus muscles. Doing your kegel exercises regularly will strengthen these muscles further and can heighten the intensity of your climaxes. Truly, the muscle that keeps on giving.

How to have sex on your period

Having sex on your period is basically the same as having sex not on your period, there’s just a bit of blood involved. However, there are some tips you can follow to make having sex on your period more comfortable and less messy.

  • 1. Remove your tampon or moon cup
  • 2. Put a dark-coloured towel down
  • 3. If this is a new partner, wear a condom
  • 4. Try different positions

Missionary, doggy style, and good ol' shower sex are the best positions for period sex if you're trying to avoid leaving a crime scene in your wake. Period blood also acts as a natural lubricant, so you don’t need to worry about whipping out your trusty lube, which is especially handy for shower sex.

Week Two, Part One: Time for a relaxed solo session

Sex on Your Period

Post-period, oestrogen and testosterone start to rise again (all your sex hormones reach an all-time low right before your period hits). This gives you a renewed sense of energy and motivation in the few days following the end of your period.

But as women's health expert and author of Period Power, Maisie Hill recommends, it's best not to go crazy immediately after your period; that energy will continue to build up until ovulation, when you'll feel more like embarking on some wild sexcapades.

In the couple of days following your period, why not opt for a chilled ménage-a-moi? Your hand, some tunes, and some quality me-time are all you need to relax your body and let it recover.

Note that an average period is usually between three and eight days long, so if your period is shorter than a full week (as are many people's) this stage will occur at the end of week one.

Week Two, Part Two: Time to go crazy

Okay, so ovulation is where the real fun happens. Ovulation occurs roughly in the middle of your cycle; if you have the average 28-day cycle, that'll be at around Day 14. Put simply, you can expect to be horny AF in the build-up to, and day of ovulation.

Your sex hormones (oestrogen, testosterone, progesterone) are all spiking, and they all want to get you pregnant. You know, evolution and all that. Even if you have absolutely no intention of getting knocked up or having the kind of sex where that would be possible, you'll still feel the effects at this stage of your cycle.

With increased energy levels and mood at a high point, your hormones are totally wingman-ing you: boosting your confidence, making your face more symmetrical, and even clearing up your skin. Oestrogen increases blood flow to your genitals which makes you feel turned on, progesterone helps strengthen your pelvic floor (see above for why that equals better orgasms), and testosterone increases sex drive.

This is the time to go out on hot dates, experiment with your partner, and shoot for the more ambitious positions and longer, wilder sex sessions. Your hormones have got your back.

Week Three: Time to cuddle

Feeling blue? Post-ovulation, which would be around week three in an average 28-day cycle, your sex drive will likely be at its lowest ebb of your whole menstrual cycle. With progesterone (sometimes known as the 'sedating hormone') spiking and oestrogen and testosterone dipping, it's understandable that your mood begins to take a dive, too. But, if you do feel like getting some action, sex (or variations thereof) is ready to help you out yet again. And this time, you don't even need to make orgasming the goal.

During and after any type of physical contact, ranging from hand holding to sex, oxytocin and endorphins are released which have both been found to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

Now, obviously we're not suggesting that you should be screwing away mental health problems if you have been diagnosed with Depression or an Anxiety Disorder, but for soothing your hormonal blues and increasing your readiness to cope with any stressors that come your way, sex could well be the answer. It might sound like a bit of a catch 22: sex could improve your mood but your low mood means you don't feel like having sex, so your mood persists...

... But fortunately, you don't have to go at it like bunnies to feel the effects of oxytocin and endorphins if you're not feeling up to it. Even hugging can cause a release of oxytocin, so the focus at this stage should be on physical intimacy.

Even if you're alone, you can touch yourself sensually, rather than sexually, or give yourself a pamper session involving a hot, candlelit bath, a full body scrub, and moisturising your whole body. For those who are partnered up or dating, we'd suggest taking that candlelit bath with your fave person (look, we're just really pro-bath at this not-so-fun stage of the cycle), spending a lot of time cuddling in front of a movie or wrapped up in bed kissing and touching each other.

You might find this eventually leads to you feeling horny and wanting to have sex or masturbate; when your genitals are touched, even without the intention of reaching climax, it stimulates blood flow to the area which will increase your feelings of desire. Sex could well give you the flood of good-vibes you're in need of during this week but, even if you want to keep it PG-13, you'll still benefit from the oxytocin release/endorphin rush of non-sexual touch and intimacy.

Sex on Your Period

Week Four: Time to show PMS who's boss

So premenstrual syndrome is pretty much universally acknowledged to be a bit of a bitch. Towards the very end of your cycle, right before your period is due again, you'll experience the luteal phase, commonly referred to as PMS. Your hormones straight-up abandon you: oestrogen levels drop to their lowest ebb and you're also experiencing low levels of testosterone and falling levels of progesterone.

While the physical symptoms really start to build up before your period arrives – think tender boobs, bloating, and premenstrual headaches – this stage isn't utterly hopeless. One perk of this time is that your sex drive will start to pick up again...

Many (but not all) people who have periods experience a heightened libido in the last couple of days before their period arrives, as well as during their period itself. This is because progesterone has finally dropped – remember, we know the sucker as the sedating hormone – and your uterus is preparing to shed its lining once more (yep, again. It happens every month, sorry boo).

This stimulates the nerve-endings and blood flow to your genitals, which results in arousal. Not only are you likely to feel like getting some action right about now, acting on your desires could well kick your PMS symptoms in the ass. Having sex in this pre-menstrual stage promises benefits such as mood-balancing, stress-reducing, and potentially even easing your premenstrual headaches...

And then we go back to the start, and repeat and repeat ad infinitum. That is, until menopause, which usually occurs between the ages of 45 to 55, when you'll have to learn to reckon with menopausal hormones!

So there we have it, your guide to period sex, sex drive, and the menstrual cycle. It's also worth noting that the more sex you have, the more your libido will grow, and the more sex you'll want. And if there's anything we've learnt here, it's if in doubt, get yourself off.

According to your hormones, you're pretty much horny all the time anyway (let's all collectively agree to forget about week three, okay?).

So, listen to your body, engage in sexual activities that match your energy levels and desires, and refer back to this article when your roommates ask you why they can hear your vibrator buzzing for three days straight every month.

This article was written by Isabella Millington at OHNE. A bespoke, organic tampon subscription service and the creators of the UK's first pro-period CBD oil, OHNE are on a mission to give everyone the easy, chill, sustainable period they deserve. Oh, and to keep you informed about everything they should have taught you in school about your own body.

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Written by Lovehoney. For collaborative posts between Lovehoney team members and guest authors
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Originally published on Jun 13, 2019. Updated on Aug 5, 2020